August 2022 Brutally Honest Earnings Report

Welcome to the August 2022 detailed monthly report focusing on my overall earnings for the month. If you’re at the northern part of this tiny rock in the galaxy, hope you’re enjoying your summer, I sure am!

The lady in red and I are both enjoying our summers…

If you missed out or would like to catch up on previous monthly-earnings reports, you can see them here.

Before we get started…

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August Highlights

Little rest for me during this hot month as happy to report six highlights!

Feedback on my Drone Footage by OverflightStock

Back in May, just after being accepted at OverflightStock, I asked their Director, Peter Chigmaroff, a few questions about which types of clips they’re looking for and proposed him this question.

Question: I see in your home landing page screenshots from various US TV serials that are popular. What kind of content sells there?

Answer: “A local city aerial, or something generic like a day to night time lapse, or a top river, a green forest? Or whatever else I could shoot? Do these serials buy urban or rural content? A lot of the aerial transitions that you see in shows is stock. Good nature locations is as popular as cityscapes. And when you are by a road, get a shot or two car tracking. Just follow a car for a few seconds. Any angle that is comfortable in an urban or rural setting. Keep it smooth and it is okay for the car to enter and leave the frame. Small towns are a good idea to include. Industry. Homes close up if you can get a property release.” 

Useful and very specific so a few months later I was in the mood to capture one of these ideas, notably the “just follow a car”…well here it is in low-resolution…

I sent the link over the Peter and he kindly gave me this feedback:

“I just had a look. Really well done. That’s pretty much perfect. I love the way you let it enter the frame without chasing it. Some idea in any situation.” 

So, let’s hope it will sell! Meanwhile, I’ll try to execute of the other ideas he mentioned.

Now let’s move onto the usual detailed earnings report.

Detailed Earnings

As always, starting first with stills:

AgencyNumber of Images in port
(images added Aug)
Net Revenue for Aug (US$)Avg Return Per Download (US$)
Alamy13,813 (66)555
Arcangel (RM-exclusive)1,710 (72) ~1,000~1,000
Adobe Stock3,777 (62)580.82
Creative Market1,604 (10)11
DepositPhotos7,173 (66)100.33
Dreamstime7,296 (37)110.41
EyeEm356 (0) – Partner Program only1Crap
Freekpik424 (327)220.07
Fine Art America373 (0)00
Gallerist1,852 (223)00
iStock (July 2022)7,508 (79) 710.46
Robert Harding (Q2 2022 monthly average) – exclusive388 (0)248
Shutterstock Editorial 898 (0)00
Shutterstock10,926 (59)1020.35
Pond51,809 (2)00
Photo4Me355 (1)00
SignElements1,288 (5)3N/A
Wirestock1,839 (25)131.10
Total 1,371 

Clip earnings

AgencyNumber of clips in port
(added Aug)
Net Revenue for Aug (US$)Avg Return Per Download (US$)
Adobe Stock511 (32)00
Pond51,741 (36)00
iStock310 (31)50.80
OverflightStock – exclusive85 (13)00
Shutterstock1,263 (24)238
Wirestock97 (9)00
Total 28 

Totals: $1,399 in August vs $504 in July

Thoughts on the month – $1,399 earned

Other than the huge more or less $1k one-off sale at Arcangel (more on this later), it’s been a quiet month all-round, which August is traditionally as many people on holiday. So can’t really make any meaningful conclusions and we’ll have to pick up where we left off in Sept.

Overall, I’m very happy with the number of assets uploaded so it’s a win for my business. Also happy about the number of posts published this month, including a guest-post at Gallerist. September to December tend to be the busier parts of the year with more sales so let’s see if we can finish the year in great stride! Now I’ll discuss the highlights from some of the agencies.

EyeEm finally paid up!

After a two-month wait, contributors finally got some good news with EyeEm finally paying up, but they aren’t out of the woods yet as all the red flags are there that they may be heading for closure, with the scoop also featured at Petapixel.

No such good news for me as pending sales showed up and made me depressed for the rest of the day…

Alamy: Slight improvement but still struggling

Alamy continues it’s downward spirral towards microstockland prices with a quite poor month at net $55 with 11 sales. Average of $5 just isn’t going to cut it as a self-declared midstock agency.

Elijah is doing even worse on there and has asked Alamy to help him understand how he may improve his sales. He has kindly shared the exchange with Alamy Customer Relations.

A real head-scratcher this reply

No major sales to report or worth reporting.

Adobe Stock: Bad Month

After a promising July, August turned into quite a poor month at just $58. no major sales to report.

iStockPhoto: Another month deep in the TurdZone

Not sure whether to laugh or cry but my first-ever drone footage sale finally sold….at iStock for 96cents. This clip was captured during my first week as a drone pilot so perhaps newer and ideally high-selling sales will occur soon.

Other than that, I see no hope in that agency as volumes are diminishing month-on-month and return per image downloaded is stubbornly low. The 20th of every month is one day I don’t look forward to anymore. No major sales to report.

Shutterstock: After some decent months, quite disappointing

I’ll forgive Shutterstock this month as August, as previously stated, tends to be quiet. Just over $100 on any other month would have been deep in the turd-zone. Let’s hope things pick up in September, including much-needed footage sales of which I’ve had few as of late. No major sales to report.

Super Sale + a strong 72-images accepted Images in Arcangel!

Out of the blue, I received a pleasantly surprising e-mail form AC that I’ve sold a book cover that I captured just six months ago. Regardless of the price, it’s a good result but when I saw that I would earn a net around just under $1,000, it was super sweet. Note: I’ve been kindly instructed to not give the exact sale amounts.

Without further ado, here’s the original and final image (use the slider).

Here’s the link to the book on Amazon to be released early next year with the following excerpt:

In this novel of escalating fear and suspense by Washington Post and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Minka Kent, a secret from a woman’s past unearths a lifetime of lies. How long can she run from the past?

On her fortieth birthday, Celia Guest has reason to celebrate. She has a loving marriage, a beautiful Connecticut home, and treasured friends. Celia has everything she’s ever wanted. But among the cards and well-wishes, she discovers a disturbing note: You don’t deserve any of this.

Who could be so cruel, so resentful, so…knowing? Then, in the early morning hours, Celia vanishes without a trace.

As suspicions and concerns rise among Celia’s friends, her sister Genevieve, with whom she shares a fractured and troubling bond, starts to piece together a shattered life that Celia fled from once before. As a foundation of lies begins to crumble, a terrifying childhood secret Celia thought was dead and buried comes to light.

And this time, there’s no getting away from the truth.

What the fk, this much for bokeh lights night background?

Yeah, those were my thoughts precisely, but there are many more considerations going on behind the scenes. For sure I’ll be sure to shoot more of those with a model walking away.

Accepted images in August

As usual, here they all are as accepted this month – warning some pretty graphic! 😀

Swimming pool shoot

Part of knowing what will sell in the book-cover industry is researching existing book covers currently on sale. Then trying to improve on them with my own style – important to never copy literally. Therefore, this month I arranged an empty swimming pool and my beautiful model here in Portugal to carry out the shoot.

You can see below I selected some existing book covers and next are my shots which I summitted to AC. Not all were accepted though so I must try again soon!

Hey, that’s my pic !

Spotted the following 7 pics this month in use this month!

Hope you had a good month and until next time!

About Alex

I’m an eccentric guy, currently based in Lisbon, Portugal, on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage. I’ve devoted eight years to making it as a travel photographer / videographer and freelance writer. I hope to inspire others by showing an unique insight into a fascinating business model.

Most recently I’ve gone all in on submitting book cover images to Arcangel Images. Oh and also recently purchased a DJI Mavic 2s drone and taking full advantage.

I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography


  1. Also, where the book cover creators have changed a lot in your original photo (eg. the bokeh remaining but the woman being changed, in another one the old photo and book were changed but the lace etc remained) they have still followed your overall concept so it’s your idea the buyers are paying for as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Alex
    Congratulations on that great sale!
    Istock selling clips for pennies is embarrassing.
    It’s been exciting to see the amount of Archangel on the chart (and they only use the bokeh!)
    I imagine that your photographs of architectural elements for Arcangel are without property release (doors, stairs…)
    Thanks, as always, for sharing your moves and strategies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks!

      Generic architectural stuff such as doors and stairs, etc don’t require releases. Those stairs that I shot were for an architectural client and was a good way to double my earnings on a shoot. They are aware that I also shoot book covers and have no issues.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes. I keep looking for a way to get more images of this type approved. With more or less editing, making them less identifiable… Maybe it’s just a matter of them having something special


  3. great blog as always. I have sold mostly full images at Arcangel but the one partial image I sold did net me more than the others ? Go figure.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review, Alex! Loved the video at the start. You could see this in a movie. It’s that good! And congratulations on that book sale! Nice set of images for archangel as well, although the blood looked slightly fake! You should have had blood seeping around your body in the pool!


    • haha bloody pool would be cool but only if it’s my own! Also want to throw a bloody knife in the pool etc and use a drone. All not possible at my friend’s pool who he shares with some neighbours, but will try next time in the Algarve. Thanks for your kind comments. By the way, your up next to be interviewed 😀


  5. Congratulation. Those sales makes one a very happy month. Keep on going with those book covers. Lame microstock images are really boring compared with the creative freedom of Arcangel Hard work and commitment pays off

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Is awesome that finally you make a good sale on Arcangel. I saw that you put a lot of effort into this website in the last year, and every month you were earning nothing. I saw your portfolio growing here, maybe from now on there won’t be a month without a book cover sale. Also, what happened with your portfolio on FAA? You used to have 690 images there, and now I see you only have 373.


    • Thanks! Yes, let’s hope I get at least one average sale a month.

      Well spotted on FAA, I got rid of some images that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. I’ll soon join their premium program ($30/year) and add some new images.


  7. Congratulations! Alex, do you know if I can submit some old photos for an Archangel exam and then not publish them? I have some really good shots but I don’t have model releases as they were taken ages ago and I wasn’t planned to upload them. I can take a lot of similar ones, but I’d like to make sure they will pass first. So, is it possible to send pictures to the exam and then not publish that same pictures? Thank you!


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